Cogent/Benger’s latest film, The Great Canadian Tax Dodge, has its first broadcast on TVOntario at 9pm on February 4th, 2015.
It is the product of a three-year investigation by director/producer Robin Benger into the extent of tax avoidance by Canadian entities in Canada and abroad, mostly via offshore tax havens in the Caribbean. “I was astonished at the systematic pervasiveness of tax avoidance by most mainstream Canadian companies on a multi-billion-dollar scale with the apparent neglect of several generations of Canadian finance ministers.”
The documentary follows the story of a fair-tax campaigner in Ottawa as he struggles to create a national movement; it looks at the views of “the Wayne Gretzky of tax lawyers”, who asserts that legal tax avoidance is a good thing; it examines legal cases that arguably lay the blame on the courts for allowing companies to deprive Canadians of millions of dollars of taxable revenue; and it reports on the seminal Canadian influence in the setting up and running of the Cayman Islands as a tax haven, and how tiny offshore jurisdictions like the Caymans have become the agents of investment in major Canadian economic sectors.
Among those interviewed are John Christensen, James Henry and Dennis Howlett from the Tax Justice movement; Antony Travers, one of the masterminds behind the Caymans Islands financial system; Al Meghji, Canada’s most successful tax law trial lawyer; Michael Wilson, former Minister of Finance; and David Dodge, former Governor of the Bank of Canada.
“This revealing and brilliant film explains the strategies used by tax avoiders and demonstrates the damage they cause. It contrasts the scammers who promote tax avoidance schemes and tax havens with the outnumbered and out-financed but public-spirited campaigners who are leading the fight against them. For the sake of our democracies, hopefully, it will spur governments to take action against rogue states that act as tax havens and against tax avoiders and the professional organizations and individuals that facilitate them.”
Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar
Osgoode Hall Law School
Produced by Robin Benger and Christopher Sumpton
Computer animation: Mark Alberts
Music: Kurt Swinghammer